New home for the Leximaniac!

I have moved all my language related material to my new site, planet Leximania.

You can find there articles about language (English and Greek), articles I have written about translation or linguistic matters. I am an avid fan of Googleology so I have a separate section on how to use most effectively Google.

Thank you everyone for your support and I hope to see you at my new virtual home!


The Leximaniac

Categories: Uncategorized

Leximaniac’s first milestone! – Definition of “hashtag spam”

September 13, 2009 2 comments

I created tonight my first WOTD definition:

Term: hashtag spam

Meaning: Spamming your message by using a popular # tag that will attract attention from trend followers.
Example Sentence: “Users of the micro-blogging site were quick to lambast the furniture chain for using “hashtag spam” – the practice of using popular topics on Twitter to pass along links to e-commerce sites or porn.” (Siobhan Chapman , Computerworld UK , 06/24/2009)
Other references:
“Due to the popularity of trending topics, opportunistic Twitterers have discovered that they can potentially reach more eyeballs if they append a trending hashtag to their tweet. The activity is known as hashtag spam, and it’s unfortunately pretty commonplace and often inappropriate, just look at Habitat’s spam tactics as an example.” – Source: Mashable | Article: 10 People You Won’t See on Twitter Anymore

“Habitat is a trendy furniture store, set up by Terence Conran in the 1970s, for those who’ve never been to the UK its like a slightly more upmarket version of Ikea. @HabitatUK turned up on Twitter a couple of days ago, and decided to use trending topic #hashtags at the start of their tweets to get noticed. They used ones that had absolutely nothing to do with furniture, decorating, or shopping, but obviously the top hashtags for Thursday evening AEST such as #iPhone #mms #Apple and even Australia’s Masterchef contestant who got voted off #Poh… Thanks to Twitter’s immediacy and public transparency, you can be quickly picked up on spammy behaviour – and the Twitter community made their disappointment clear to @HabitatUK.” – Source: Digital Tip | Article: How not to use Twitter: HabitatUK as a case study

The term seems to be climbing the social ladder (sic) riding the wave of the social media networking rise to popularity. Just take a look at the monolingual Google search exclusively for “hashtag spam”. I also Twittered this term under the labels #wotd #xl8 on my Twitter feed.

Thank you to those who read my tweets, those who follow the links to either here, or to Translatum’s English monolingual board.

Erin McKean

July 29, 2009 2 comments

While browsing through the TED videos I came across this lovely, full of spank and enthusiasm lexicographer. After that I was hooked! I became such a fan that I thought that I could, maybe, gather in this post all the Erin McKean videos I could find online. This most certainly will not be an exhaustive list but I am sure if you watch even a couple of them you will become a fan and at the same time will see your dictionaries from a whole new perspective.

Who is Erin McKean? I will copy/paste here the entry from Wikipedia, Erin McKean, and feel free to visit the Wikipedia article for all of the sites this active lexicographer maintains. Here is a short bio (from what you will see I have maintained Wikipedia’s embedded links because they are useful but also because I think you should visit them):

Erin McKean (born 1971) is an American lexicographer. Erin is a founder and the CEO of the new online dictionary Wordnik.[1][2] She was previously the Principal Editor of The New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition[3].

McKean is also the editor of Verbatim: The Language Quarterly and the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That’s Amore. She has a novel, The Secret Lives of Dresses, coming out from Grand Central.[4]She writes about dresses in her blog, A Dress A Day, and about lexicography at Dictionary Evangelist. She is currently a member of the advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation[5] and of Credo Reference[6]. She has written “The Word” column in The Boston Globe during times when Jan Freeman has been on leave.[7]

McKean has formulated McKean’s law: “Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling, or typographical error”,[8] a variant of Muphry’s law.

So, here is the list of videos I have collected so far:

Erin McKean at TED: “Redifining the dictionary” (click here for her bio page):

Erin McKean at Google: In her speech titled “Verbatim” Erin McKean, editor and lexicographer for the New Oxford American Dictionary, tells Google the ten things she wishes people knew about dictionaries, how people go about making new words, and how lexicographers use Google.

Erin McKean at iSummit: Erin McKean delivers the keynote speech at iSummit08.

Erin McKean at Google TechTalk: Earn the basics of word formation in English, get “raw materials” for new words, and invent your own word (and have it critiqued) before you let it loose into the English language. The maker of the “best new word” (as voted on by the participants) will win a new dictionary.

I have two more videos but they somehow cannot get embedded in this post. So for :

Erin McKean at Pop!Tech: Erin McKean (2006) Pop!Tech Pop!Cast: Self-proclaimed word geek Erin McKean, editor-in-chief of U.S. Dictionaries for Oxford University Press, is on a mission to debunk common misconceptions and elevate the use-and cool factor-of dictionaries. And what’s this about dictionaries being “the vodka of literature”? and for Erin McKean at Gel 2007, visit this link and this link respectively.

You can follow on Twitter and don’t forget to visit Wordnik…

Categories: Lexicography, Linguistics

Obamism – “A teachable moment”

July 25, 2009 Leave a comment

When G.W. Bush was in the “hot” seat people haunted him by pointing out his mistakes. Did anyone point to Barak Obama that a moment cannot be teachable? I quote from an ABC News article, which can be found here:

“Obama stirred up a hornet’s nest when he said at a prime-time news conference this week that Cambridge police had “acted stupidly” by arresting Gates, a friend of the president’s. Still, Obama said Friday he didn’t regret stepping into the controversy and hoped the matter would end up being a “teachable moment” for the nation.”

Now I have not really looked into any other speeches he has made but this one just jumped out of the page. Here is what teachable means and how it’s used:

So according to Obama it’s the moment has a chance to be taught something by what happened, not the people!

Way to go, Mr. President!

Λεξικό Μπαμπινιώτη

July 12, 2009 2 comments

Διαβάζω τον Γιάννη Χάρη στο ιστολόγιό του και διαπίστωσα ότι είχε μια καλή ανάλυση της νέας (2008) έκδοσης του λεξικού Μπαμπινιώτη. Παραθέτω εδώ τους σύνδεσμους για να διαβάσετε κι εσείς όσα βρήκε στο λεξικό αλλά και για να θυμίσω να μην το παρακάνετε με τους τόνους (που όλοι οι Μπαμπινιωτικοί μας έχετε φλομώσει επιτέλους με τους τόνους πάνω στα άρθρα, είτε υπάρχει το κριτήριο της αμφιβολίας είτε όχι). Ζω με την ελπίδα  ότι μια μέρα δεν θα ακούω πια την ατάκα «ένας παραπάνω τόνος δεν μας χαλάει». Έλεος δηλαδή!

Εσείς τι πιστεύετε;

Categories: Linguistics

Vendor – Client Relationship

June 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I stumbled across this really priceless video. No matter how eloquently we might write or how many cartoons we can draw, this sums up our work as translators so nicely.